A lot of criticism have been spread after the Revenue Department had certified Counter Service Company Limited, a subsidiary of CP ALL Public Company Limited or as CPALL (7-Eleven), to be the only qualifier to provide VAT refund services to foreign tourists.
While the other two candidates, one of which is in the department store business, failed as they did not meet the qualification standard. This is a very curious decision by the Revenue Department to qualify a convenience store, which sells miscellaneous products, to be the qualifier over a department store. There hardly any probability that tourists will purchase whatever there is in 7-Eleven for the amount of 2,00 baht (according to the regulation of being able to use the service only if the purchase value is higher than 2,000 baht.)
And it would be inconvenient for the tourists to purchase things at the department store and run around the city to find three specific convenience stores for VAT refund service. It is widely and globally known that the VAT refund center should be established in convenient spots, so that tourists can process the procedure in getting their money back and then use the ‘money’ to purchase more goods.
The case of VAT Refund Center (Thailand) Company Limited failing the qualification after submitting five spots in total, which is two spots more than stated in the regulation should not be the significant reason to disqualify the company.
Moreover, the nominated five spots are:
- Zen in Central World Department Store
- Central Chidlom Department Store
- The Emporium Department Store
- Robinson Sukhumvit Department Store
- Siam Paragon Department Store
The chosen spots are well considered on where the majority of foreign tourists will gather, while the three qualified spots are placed in the places focusing only Chinese tourists. Those three spots are:
- 7-Eleven on Phadung Dao Road in Yaowarat
- 7-Eleven at Lido Cinema in Siam Square
- 7-Eleven at Bangkok Night Bazaar on Rama IX Road
To make the case even more curious, the five spots of VAT Refund Center (Thailand) Company Limited had been permitted to issue a tax invoice to tourist and already familiar with the tax invoice system, compared to the three spots that were not used to the system plus limited service space as they are only convenience stores.
If this is really a sandbox only for six months, would it be better to have those five service centers in the the department stores that offer an easier access to tourists?
There are rumors saying that VAT Refund Center (Thailand) Company Limited will file an appeal to the Revenue Department to reconsider, which might take 45-90 days. If the company lose three months without any actions, this sandbox might not be as effective as it should be.
Rumors have also sprout that the reason 7-Eleven had been chosen is because there was an order issued to the Revenue Department to do so. While some said that the Revenue Department was not really serious about this sandbox as it will genuinely lose its earning. However, as the policy was issued by the government, the order will likely be followed.
Quite a dilemma the Revenue Department is stuck in. Which rumors are true, which are false, or all are true, we will have to wait and see.